• How can advances in medical technology support junior doctors’ studies?

    There are more than 50,000 junior doctors in England[i]. Junior doctors are vital to the future of the UK health services, yet, they are often the ones that feel the most overworked.[ii] Recent research from the Royal College of Physicians found that 70% of junior doctors worked on a rota that was permanently understaffed, while 80% felt their job put them under too much stress, and 25% said it had a serious effect on their mental health.[iii]

     

    With this in mind, it is no surprise that junior doctors are feeling increasingly time poor. Indeed, research from Indextra revealed that almost two-thirds (60%) feel they do not have enough time to spend in CPD training[iv]. Furthermore, 80% of junior doctors feel the need to be more knowledgeable because patients are now more informed than ever before; and 78% feel increasing pressure from their patients to know everything.iv

    The study from Indextra also revealed that over four-fifths (84%) of junior doctors believe there needs to be better integration of digital tools and resources to support improved diagnosis, treatment and management of patients. The need for improved health technology tools and resources has been set out in recent, NHS Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) guidelines, advising how best to offer health technology as a form of education, such as computer-based simulations and mobile apps for e-learning. [v]

    The General Medical Council also recently updated its requirements for medical education and training, noting that trainees should use technology enhanced learning opportunities such as simulated patient environments, to improve clinical and practical skills.vi With the Department of Health also saying that innovative educational technologies provide unique opportunities for health care students[vi], it is clear that technologies including mobile apps, virtual reality and integrated simulators, could go some way in enabling junior doctors to develop essential knowledge and skills, needed for safe and effective patient care. vi

    With the rise of new state of the art training centres in NHS trusts allowing junior doctors to develop their skills using brand new VR technology; those undertaking training in medical specialities such as general surgery, psychiatry, or respiratory medicine, can now use VR to help them learn how to perform new procedures. Simulation-based training could also boost junior doctors’ confidence in handling critically ill patients, including diagnosis skills and decision-making.

    The majority of junior doctors, who have access to mobile apps, use them to help diagnose and manage their patients, as well as for education purposes.[vii]  Apps can also be extremely useful on busy wards, which have a limited number of computers, providing quick access to information. Indeed, Indextra research showed that 96% of junior doctors would feel more confident diagnosing, treating and managing their patients if they had an app with medical resources and information, to hand.

    The advancement of digital tools and medical apps like Indextra can be used to support junior doctors in their studies, optimize their time, and enable them to be up to date with the most readily available resources. For your free 30-day trial of Indextra, visit the sign up page.

    [i] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34798215 (Last Accessed: February 2019)

    [ii] Working in a system that is under pressure, BMA, 2018: (Last Accessed: February 2019)

    [iii] https://www.standard.co.uk/futurelondon/health/what-tech-is-already-doing-for-our-healthcare-a3885911.html  (Last Accessed: February 2019)

    [iv] Indextra research, conducted by Censuswide, June 2018   (Last Accessed: February 2019)

    [v] Guidelines for commissioning Technology Enhanced Learning in the NHS, 2017  (Last Accessed: February 2019)

    [vi] A Framework for Technology Enhanced Learning, Department of Health, 2011  (Last Accessed: February 2019)

    [vii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23110712/    (Last Accessed: February 2019)

     

     

  • The latest developments for advancing healthcare technology

    Digital health encompasses communication via apps and social media, to wearable technology & medical devices. As the demand for high quality healthcare rises and technology progresses in leaps and bounds, patients are turning to digital tools to manage their own health and wellbeing.

    Healthcare professionals are also increasingly searching for new technology that can provide effective solutions to manage their time more efficiently. Indeed, 79% of doctors surveyed as part of the Indextra research agreed that the greater availability of digital tools would help free up their time and resources for those patients who require urgent care and 84% of doctors agree that the rise of healthcare technology could help patients by optimizing their time.

     

    Whether patients are using digital tools for diet management, monitoring their activity levels or simply being able to book GP appointments at the touch of a button – they want to be able to access care when, where and how they need it. The call for more readily accessible apps are revolutionising patient care; it is no wonder that the UK mobile health market is now worth around £250 million.[i]

    The need for improved digital health has also been recently set out in guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence; demonstrating it is top on the agenda for organisations. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has published new standards, which set out the requirements needed to develop digital health technologies for the NHS, helping to accelerate uptake of products like healthcare apps.[ii]

    Increased appetite for healthcare technology has meant more innovative medical apps have been released in the last year. Apps that have launched this year have focused on:

    • Enabling patients and their doctors to have two-way dialogue remotely, to monitor and manage diabetes and treatment
    • Allowing patients to video call/ instant message their doctors direct from their Smartphone
    • Providing a service that can offer patients repeat prescriptions at the touch of a button
    • Providing readily accessible information and tips to those recovering from breast cancer
    • Providing personalised health and wellbeing coaches on apps, from Google
    • Managing chronic conditions like COPD, enabling doctors the opportunity to better predict the severity and course of patient treatment
    • Monitoring heart conditions and problems on apps featured on Apple Watches
    • Measuring sleep nutrition, which can be shared to patient doctors. This information can track patterns and inform future treatment

    In addition to the release of new medical apps, other examples show how digital health is supporting the healthcare system in the UK. Widespread adoption of artificial intelligence and the NHS embracing “full automation” of AI, could free up as much as £12.5billion a year worth of staff time for them to spend interacting with patients.[iii] The NHS is also making all its systems digital so that patient data can be shared across different health and care settings, which will help improve individual care, speed up diagnosis and ensure that staff have access to the right patient data at the right time.[iv]

     

    The advancement of digital tools and medical apps like Indextra can help doctors optimize their time,

    and be up to date with the most readily available resources For your free 30-day trial of Indextra, visit the sign up page.

    [i] https://www.statista.com/statistics/469041/size-of-the-united-kingdom-s-mhealth-application-market/

    [ii] https://www.nice.org.uk/Media/Default/About/what-we-do/our-programmes/evidence-standards-framework/digital-evidence-standards-framework.pdf (Last Accessed: December 2018)

    [iii] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jun/11/the-robot-will-see-you-now-how-ai-could-revolutionise-nhs   (Last Accessed: December 2018)

    [iv] https://www.england.nhs.uk/digitaltechnology/connecteddigitalsystems/ (Last Accessed: December 2018)